PI Editorial: Making meat and potatoes political is a bunch of … you know | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Making meat and potatoes political is a bunch of … you know

Post Independent Editorial Board

What did you have for dinner Saturday night?

Sorry, we forgot it’s best to avoid political talk these days.

The whole hubbub began with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis announcing a “Meat Out Day” proclamation for Saturday, March 20. Well-intentioned or not, it quickly became another culture war flashpoint. Words like “betrayal” and “boycott” began circulating quickly throughout Colorado. Others began to organize a “Meat-in Day” on the same day and used it as an opportunity to connect people with Colorado’s cattle heritage through one of the best ways possible: the dinner plate.

We were happy to see so many local residents and businesses use MeatGate to help boost our local ag producers. Ranching has both a valuable economic and cultural role within the history of the Western United States, and it was good to see many people locally take this in a positive direction.

That said, we’re definitely more skeptical about the long-term value of such culture war flare-ups. Two months from now, will anything have changed for the better to help support ranchers in the long-term, especially as we face significant drought conditions heading into summer? We’re doubtful.

While Polis would probably be wiser to avoid canned proclamations such as this in the future — something he seems to have implicitly acknowledged by failing to post the proclamation anywhere on the governor’s website — it also doesn’t provide much for the long-term sustainability of the West’s ranching heritage.

That’s probably by design. Many who latched onto it seemed to view it as an opportunity to rile up rural/conservative Colorado against liberal/metropolitan Colorado. That will likely benefit politicians in parts of the state that lean conservative, but it’s very unlikely to help Republican candidates for office win more statewide. At some point, Republicans need to consider building platforms and policies that can connect with more voters along the Front Range.

Otherwise, residents along the Western Slope and other rural parts of the state will continue to not only face an uphill battle in electing conservative politicians statewide — we’ll also encounter more and more Front Range edicts such as the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado. That measure passed by an incredibly narrow margin mostly because of voters along the Front Range supporting it.

We truly believe a more focused educational campaign on why wolf reintroduction is a bad fit for Colorado could have resonated with more voters along the Front Range. Fanning the flames of the seemingly forever culture wars distract from those opportunities.

In closing, once you’re done with your steak, maybe spend a bit more time thinking about how to have meaningful conversation with those who disagree with you — it’s very likely you’ll find common ground.

The Post Independent Editorial Board consists of Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann and Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud.

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